If you read the title, you might think I’m some kind of bed hater (if that’s even a thing). Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, I loved my bed. Honestly. It was so soft and comfortable that I would often stay in it long after it was time to get up.
I thought it was perfectly normal to sleep in such a bed.
But, one day, many months ago now, I came across a video that piqued my interest.
It was about a woman who was explaining the health benefits she experienced when she started sleeping with just a thin yoga mat and light blanket separating her from the floor. She talked about how her sleep improved, her back became much more flexible, and her body felt a lot better overall.
Well, that was enough for me.
I thought it was definitely worth a shot, so I went out to the garage to unearth an old yoga mat that was collecting dust.
That night, I lay down on the floor and shut my eyes, ready to sleep and already imagining how much better I would feel the next morning. I was sure I was about to experience the best sleep of my life, and I couldn’t wait.
A few hours later, in the middle of the night, I woke up with a strange feeling. Or rather, a lack of feeling. I sat up and realized to my shock that I couldn’t feel my legs.
Needless to say, when the feeling in my legs returned shortly after, I promptly crawled back into my soft bed and decided to give up the whole idea.
But for some reason, I couldn’t — though my first experience of sleeping on the floor hadn’t gone as planned (to say the least), I wanted to try again.
This time, I put a slightly thicker faux fur blanket on the floor and added the comforters from my bed on top.
It still felt hard, but it was surprisingly comfortable.
And you know what?
That night, I slept really well.
So well, in fact, that the very next morning, I was ready to take my old mattress to a recycling location and never sleep in a traditional bed ever again.
Now, maybe you’re skeptical. Maybe you think I’m crazy for giving up my bed in favor of a seemingly much less comfortable alternative. I understand that. But, if your interest is piqued, as mine was when I first heard about this, read on.
The benefits of sleeping on the floor
A lot of people from a variety of backgrounds and ages have started sleeping on the floor and have never looked back because of the overwhelming benefits they have experienced doing it. In fact, in many cultures, sleeping on the floor is the norm.
But, I wanted to share my experience as someone who has spent the majority of her life sleeping on a typical mattress — someone who wasn’t used to sleeping on the floor or on a harder surface every night at all.
Now, keep in mind that I am a healthy, active twenty-something, so my experience may differ from that of others. Please be cautious when trying something new, and ask a medical professional if you have concerns about your health.
With that said, let’s jump into the benefits I experienced first-hand:
Getting better sleep
I’ll be honest — typically, I used to sleep well in a normal bed. But when I transitioned to sleeping on a harder surface, I noticed the quality of my sleep really improved. I realized I could sleep fewer hours per night and still wake up refreshed and rested, instead of groggy.
That alone was eye-opening because when I slept in a typical bed and had to get up earlier than usual, I often felt exhausted later on in the day.
Being able to sleep in small spaces
When room is tight, being able to sleep without a bed is incredibly convenient. I know now that all I really need to be comfortable is a mat, a small pillow, and a blanket. That’s it. It’s a freeing feeling because it means that no matter where I spend the night, be it at a friend’s house, on a trip, or camping in a tent, I need very little to wake up rested and feeling amazing.
Not worrying about moving or buying beds
To me, this is one of my absolute favorite things about not sleeping in a typical bed: I don’t have to pay someone to move it or spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars for a new one. Having a “real” bed has become optional instead of mandatory. I love that.
Saving beds from landfills
It should come as no surprise that beds are really taxing on the planet. How? Because they’re so large that once they get old and worn out and no one wants them anymore, they end up getting thrown out. Think about it — there’s not much that can be done with an old bed. Sure, you might be able to recycle the frame, but the mattress itself is often unsalvageable. So, not sleeping on a traditional bed anymore helps reduce waste in a big way.
How to get started
The beauty of “floor sleeping” is that there are actually many ways to go about it. Some people sleep on yoga mats, thin memory foam mattresses, or Japanese-style futon mattresses.
Some decide they want the benefits of floor sleeping without having to sleep on the floor, so they build themselves a bed frame or keep their old frame and donate the mattress.
This is what I’ve been doing: I started on the floor and eventually set up a faux fur blanket on my old bed frame off the floor, and it has been working really well for me. Eventually, I think I’ll buy or build a larger bed frame and put a thin Japanese-style mattress on top, but for now, the setup I have now is perfect for my needs.
Remember — if you decide to get rid of your traditional, thick mattress, there are many options available to you. You’re completely free to experiment and see what works best for you, as I did.
My goal in writing this article is not to make you drop everything and donate your bed in favor of a thin yoga mat — not at all. (Although, if you do end up doing that and benefit from it, good for you!)
My true goal is to offer my personal experience and raise awareness about something that is honestly completely changing my sleep (and therefore, how I feel during the day).
I know a lot of people struggle to get high-quality sleep, and this ends up affecting their whole lives. They have less energy to accomplish what they need to do on a day-to-day basis, let alone go after big, long-term goals. They rely heavily on caffeine just to get them through the day, and sleeping pills to get them through the night.
What I’ve discovered, though, is that high-quality, restful sleep is possible, and it starts with what you sleep on.
If you have trouble getting enough rest, I would highly recommend looking into changing your bed. Who knows? It might just change your life, too.